My Le Creuset obsession started when the boyfriend bought me an innocent-looking mini casserole pot (or ‘mini-cocotte’) in graded blue. I was over the moon with it, not least because he’d bought me something a) original, and b) I hadn’t already suggested, and it immediately sparked a long-term obsession with Le Creuset kitchenware. However, the first question (as is most people’s) is ‘what can I actually cook in it?’.
A friend suggested using it to serve dips and olives in, but I thought surely there must be recipes which don’t result a pile of washing up for a measly portion of casserole-for-one, and which don’t result in pushing it to the back of the cupboard as an expensive dust-collector. I have collected three summer recipes which require the use of two mini-cocottes, to make the perfect portion sized meals for two.
Oeufs en Cocotte (French omelette)
2 fresh duck eggs
1 sliced leek (white and light green parts only)
5 Chanterelle mushrooms
4 tbsp creme fraiche
Salt and pepper
Baguette sliced into thin strips (for dipping)
Handful of chopped chives
1.In a medium skillet, saute leeks in olive oil for 2-3 minutes (until it begins to wilt). Add the mushrooms and saute for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat to set aside.
2. In a deep saute pan, bring about 2 inches of water to a boil – fill it enough so that when the mini-cocottes are placed inside, the water goes half way up the side. Place one tablespoon of creme fraîche at the bottom of each mini-cocotte.
3. Divide the leek and mushroom mixture in half and add on top of the creme fraîche. Add another tablespoon of creme fraîche in each cocotte. Finally, crack one egg on top of each serving (keep the yolk in tact). Season with salt and pepper.
4. Gently place each mini-cocotte in the boiling water and cook until the whites are opaque, about 10-15 minutes (do not place a lid on the pan). Once the eggs are done, carefully remove from the water. Garnish with chopped chives and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt. Serve with toasted baguette cut into thin strips for dipping.
Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Tart
3 filo pastry sheets, cut in half
20g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
1 medium free-range egg, beaten
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
Grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½
Handful of toasted pinenuts
100g roasted peppers, drained and sliced
1. Preheat a baking sheet in the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Brush the filo sheets with the melted butter, then layer 3 half-sized sheets into each mini-cocotte, allowing the rest of the filo to overhang the pots. In a bowl, mix the egg, garlic and feta, then season.
2. Fold in the pine nuts, parsley, lemon zest and juice, and peppers through the feta mix and spoon the mix into your mini-cocottes, then fold the remaining pastry over the top, scrunching to seal. Brush the pastry all over with more melted butter.
3. Bake for 25 minutes until golden and set. Remove from the oven, then cool for 5 minutes before serving in slices with a green salad.
75g plain flour
45g butter, cubed
45g brown sugar
25g porridge oats
1. Peel and cut the apples into bite sized pieces, and put them in a small saucepan with about 2 tbsp of water and a tbsp of sugar. Cook on a low heat for 15-20 mins until the apple is soft.
2. Measure out your flour and butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add the cinnamon, sugar and oats to the flour and butter mix, and take the apples off the heat.
4. Add the apples and sugary liquid in the bottom of the saucepan to the bottom of two mini-cocottes and sprinkle the oat mixture on top. Bake in the oven for about 20mins at 180C. Let it cool for a few minutes, then serve with cream or vanilla ice cream.
the crazy happenings in my life